Tracking Property and
As you learned in Chapter 3, you use asset accounts to track the things you own
(property) and liability accounts to track what you owe (debt). You don’t have to
monitor every last penny in Quicken, but the more you do, the more benefits
you’ll reap. For example, set up a mortgage account, and the program automati-
cally reminds you when it’s payment time. Say goodbye to those pesky late fees.
More importantly, you can measure your progress in that long journey towards
actually owning your house. And with a clear picture of assets and liabilities,
Quicken can do things like calculate your net worth (the value of your assets minus
whatever you owe)—a good way to check your financial health.
This chapter shows you how to set up Quicken to track assets and debts. Once
you’ve done that, you can spend your time thinking about more exciting things—
like what to do with all that money Quicken saved you in late fees.
Property and Debt: An Introduction
To make the most of Quicken’s property- and debt-tracking features, it helps to
understand a few basic concepts:
• Assets are things you own that have value: your house, car, appliances, and that
baseball signed by Mickey Mantle. By tracking the value of your assets in
Quicken, you’re on your way to figuring out how much you’re really worth. (By
the way, your physical assets don’t count, even if you earn your living as a
198 Quicken 2008: The Missing Manual
Property and Debt:
The asset accounts (and liability accounts) that Quicken uses to track property
and debt have registers—just like checking accounts. As you can see in
Figure 9-1, transactions you record reflect changes in asset value: paying off
mortgage principal, depreciation, and home improvements.
Quicken has specialized asset accounts for houses and cars. If you have other
items of value (like jewelry, artwork, and so on) that you’d like Quicken to
include in your net worth, you can create asset accounts for them as well.
Tip: There’s no need to create separate asset accounts for every last item you own, even if you want
Quicken to track the value of your personal property. You can create a single asset account that includes
your estimated value of things like furniture, clothes, tools, and so on.
• Liabilities represent money you owe, whether for an asset, like a house or car,
or something less tangible but no less important, like your college education. In
Quicken, you create liability accounts for the money you borrow. If you bor-
row money to buy a car, purchase your home, and pay for your child’s college
education, you create a liability account for each debt (whether or not it’s
secured by an asset that you own).
• Loans. When you borrow money, the loan is your legal commitment to pay the
money back. If you’ve purchased a house, you already know the mountains of
paperwork involved. One crucial item is the loan document, which describes
An asset or liability
account’s register lists
transactions that increase
or decrease the balance
in the account. For
example, the principal
that you pay off each
month with your
the balance in your
account. If you finish
basement, then you can
add a transaction to your
house asset account to
reflect its increased